Ger Cunningham: Social media would blow whistle on rogue trainers

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Brian Adam
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Social media would quickly call to account any GAA team not strictly observing the ban on collective training, says Cork hurling coach Ger Cunningham.

Cunningham is confident the GAA community is being responsible during the Covid-19 shutdown, and believes there is little need to ‘babysit’ inter-county players, who, he believes, are self-motivated enough to follow individual training programmes for however long the current situation continues.

Speaking on the Irish Examiner GAA Podcast, Cunningham said the Cork management team met with the senior panel last week, their last collective session for the foreseeable future.

GAA Podcast: How Cork hurlers will tackle the shutdown, with Ger Cunningham

“Even that night our doctors, Colm and Con (Murphy), were warning us that we may have to look at introducing guidelines in terms of coming to training. It was beginning to break.

“We weren’t due to train again until the weekend. And then the word came through on Thursday, the ban came in, and that put us on lockdown straight away.

“We’re waiting to see what happens. It’s probably not going to be a short-term situation so you’ve no date to aim for. They’ve put the 29th (of March) in place but I’m not too sure how realistic that is.”

Cunningham stressed that it would not be appropriate for panel members to gather on groups for collective work.

“They’re all part of families and that’s the priority at this stage, that they look after themselves and look after their families. All those lads have parents and grandparents and I think it’s beginning to kick in now for some of the younger generation that they do take the advice that’s being given by the medical people, that’s crucial.

“So any temptation that guys get together in some shape or form, that they have a collective session themselves, or go out for a kickabout or a puckaround, it can’t be done.

“In the world of social media, you’d hear about it if someone did something inappropriate. People would be admonished. They’d be quickly told you can’t do it.

“There’s no insurance cover anyway for guys if they do collective training so it’s not a risk worth taking. The instruction has come out from the GAA, from the county board, from the management. This is down tools time and there’s no point even chancing doing anything in any collective way.

“They will have their programmes, they will communicate by WhatsApp message to say what you’ve done. There mightn’t even be a need to meet up because once you document what you’re doing, the S&C guys can look at it.

These guys are self-motivated, self-driven. They do all this already. They do stuff outside of our training domain. These guys love going out doing the extra bit themselves. They are pushing themselves all the time to improve. So if you’re having to mind a fella or push a fella to do what’s required in training, you’d certainly be wondering what he’s doing in here in the first place.

Cunningham hopes players use the break from collective work to address areas where they need to improve.

“It creates an opportunity as well. We’ve been going fairly full-on since the start of the year. The matches came thick and fast. It’ll give people a chance to recharge the batteries.

“It happens all the time, especially in hurling, you get the finger injury, four to six weeks, you won’t be playing.

“We’ll be trying to use the psychology of that, to say you can’t play, but what can you do in terms of things you need to work on and that you might not have had the time to do. Now you have the time, put a plan in place, and in that four to six weeks come back better and stronger in terms of the areas you need to improve, and your hurling will pick up quickly enough.

“If you need to work on your speed or endurance, work on that, but don’t overload. That’s how you’ll end up with an injury and then you’re back to square one.”


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